House Democrats set the stage for a Barr standoff

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A key House committee with the power to impeach President Donald Trump is moving ahead with a Thursday hearing to question Attorney General William Barr about the Mueller report, even if the attorney general doesn’t show.

The standoff took its latest turn Monday when the Judiciary Committee formally announced plans to hold a Wednesday morning vote that would authorize the panel’s Democratic and GOP counsels to split an hour of additional questioning about the special counsel’s findings on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible obstruction of justice by Trump.

DOJ officials have objected to committee staff questioning Barr in public about the Mueller report, setting the stage for an explosive hearing Thursday. Democrats have threatened to issue a subpoena if Barr refuses to show up on Thursday.

By sticking with their proposed format for the hearing, Democrats are essentially daring the Justice Department to cave or fight back.

“Administration witnesses — or any witnesses — have to come in and be examined as the committee sees fit, not as they see fit,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

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